ARC REVIEW: The Breakdown – by B.A. Paris @StMartinsPress

Title: The Breakdown
Author: B.A. Paris

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 18th 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Finished reading: July 15th 2017
Pages: 336

“I’m ashamed – ashamed that I’m no longer the strong person I once was, ashamed that I let the slightest thing get to me.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


!! Happy publication day !!

I’ve had an ARC copy of The Breakdown collecting dust on my kindle shelf for months now… I was initially really excited to be granted a copy, especially after hearing so many wonderful things about Behind Closed Doors, but as mixed reviews started popping up everywhere I wasn’t so sure anymore. I’ve been hesitant to pick The Breakdown up ever since because I tend to have a bad relationship with hyped books in the first place. Thankfully this one turned out to be an exception to that rule and I now wish I would have picked it up sooner! I started reading The Breakdown with caution, but I soon realized this wasn’t necessary at all. I found myself enjoying this psychological thriller right from the very first chapter and was instantly convinced by the engaging writing style. I have a weak spot for any story with amnesia, dementia or mental health/illness elements and B.A. Paris was able to develop this element exceptionally well in The Breakdown. The main character is showing signs of early-onset dementia and this plays a huge role in both the plot and plot twists throughout the story. And I personally found this angle fascinating! True, I didn’t actually like every character, but there is no doubt that the character development of Cass is more than spot on. I had my guesses about the who and why and some of it turned out to be true, but the final part of this story without doubt came as a surprise and made me want to reread The Breakdown just to see if I missed the clues the first time. And I just love whenever that happens… I guess this story can go either way, but I recommend giving it a try anyway since you might be in for a surprise!


One night Cass decides to take the shortcut home even though the weather is horrible and going down that rural road is dangerous in the middle of a storm. She is more than surprised when she sees a car in the woods, but since the woman doesn’t react and Cass is scared, she decides to drive home instead and forget about the incident… Until the next day she finds out the woman in question was killed. Cass feels guilty she didn’t do anything, but convinces herself it’s probably for the best to keep what she saw that night a secret. The murder has been affecting her terribly though and she’s been forgetting things since that dreadful night. Little things as where she left her car, what the alarm code is, meetings with their friends… And that is not the only thing that worries her. Because who can she trust, if she can’t even trust herself?


I’m aware that The Breakdown has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, but I personally had a really positive experience reading this psychological thriller. Then again I’m a sucker for any story with an amnesia/dementia angle and I found this element very well executed in The Breakdown. I didn’t particularly like Cass or the other characters, but the character development and growing forgetfulness and paranoia was brilliantly executed. In short I would definitely recommend giving this one a chance if you like the genre.


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29 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: The Breakdown – by B.A. Paris @StMartinsPress

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I loved reading this book! I agree—none of the characters were particularly likable, but the development was what I loved about this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere lately — I picked up a copy at ALA but haven’t gotten to it yet, particularly because of the mixed reviews. But, I think I can get over unlikable characters if everything else is well executed. Great review, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. I probably benefited from not having read Behind Closed Doors before picking this up. I wouldn’t say this is the best thriller ever but it was enjoyable enough and very readable like you say. Great review as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I cannot tell you how happy I am that you liked this book! I will be reading it while on vacation in a couple of weeks. I didn’t read Behind Closed Doors either, so hopefully I will have a similar experience and enjoy this one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So glad to see some positive thoughts for this book. I love the sound of growing dementia playing a role in the story too. Definitely revived my interest in this, but I think I’ll have to go with her huge hit, Behind Closed Doors, first, just to see what she’s all about, before checking this one out. Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most negative reviews I’ve seen about talk about how they were disappointed after Behind Closed Doors… So I guess there is a quality difference between the two; in a way I’m glad I read this one first so I didn’t have the high expectations bothering me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I thought it was an addictive read though having read BCD, my expectations were too high so I ended up being underwhelmed by this one. I agree with you though, it was enjoyable and part of the final twist made me want to go look for missed clues too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’ve heard the exact same thing of every person who read Behind Closed Doors first… It’s one of the reasons I decided to leave that one for later. 😉 Good to hear you were still able to enjoy it though!


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  12. I read Behind Closed Doors a few months ago with my book club. Most of our members loved it. I thought it was ok. Since BCD is so beloved, I feel like a lot of people were comparing the books and disappointed… which doesn’t seem fair. Happy to hear you enjoyed it! Are you going to give BCD a go now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s one of the reasons I decided to read The Breakdown first, just so I can avoid comparing the two… I’m definitely going to try and read Behind Closed Doors this year though. A shame that one didn’t work out for you!

      Liked by 1 person

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